4 Presidential $1 coins set for 2014 Updated: 1/3/2014

     Final obverse designs for the four 2014 Presidential $1 coins have been released by the United States Mint. The coins honor former Presidents Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The following coins and the Mint sculptor-engravers who designed and executed the coins' obverse designs are:


  •           Warren G. Harding Presidential $1 Coin- United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso, designer and engraver.


  •           Calvin Coolidge Presidential $1 Coin-United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, designer and engraver


  •           Herbert Hoover Presidential $1 Coin-Hemphill, designer and engraver


  •           Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential $1 Coin- United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna, designer and engraver. 

     Inscriptions on the obverse of each coin in the Presidential $1 Coin Program include the President's name, term in office, the order in which he served, and IN GOD WE TRUST. 

     The reverse (tails side) of all coins in the Presidential $1 Coin Program features a rendition of the Statue of Liberty, designed and executed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver don Everhart. 

     Inscriptions on the reverse are $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The year of minting or issuance, the mint mark, and E PLURIBUS UNUM are incused on the edge of the coins. 

     The coins will be released at approximately three-month intervals throughout the year beginning in February. 

     Although production of circulating Presidential $1 Coins was suspended in 2011, collectible versions will continue to be available through select United States Mint offerings. For information on the pricing and availability of Presidential $1 Coin Program numismatic products, visit http://www.usmint.gov/catalog

     Or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). 




Half Dollars go back on Mint Presses Updated: 1/3/2014

     If you are a half dollar fan, you will love the news that unlike last year and other recent years, the Mint produced the coin during the month of November. Philadelphia struck 3.2 million halves to bring its 2013 output to 5 million pieces, up to 3.2 million from the 1.8 million coins struck in 2012. Denver chimed in by striking 2.8 million half dollars in the latest month, bringing its 2013 total through November to 4.6 million coins, up to 2.9 million pieces from the 1.7 million total in 2012. Over all, 9.6 million half dollars have been struck so far in 2013, up 6.1 million from the 3.5 million produced last year. 

     Counting all denominations struck in November, the Mint's rate of production declined to 991,140,000 coins from 1,220,380,000 in October. In the first 11 months of the calendar year, the Mint has produced 11,620,980,000 coins. This is up almost 28 percent from the 9,090,890,000 coins struck in the same period of 2012. Compared to 2012, the mint has struck almost one billion more cents and 900 million more quarters with smaller grains in other denominations. Output of Presidential dollars in 2013 has declined to 33.46 million from 44.04 million in 2012. Native American dollar mintage has also declined. This year's figure is 3.64 million while the 2012 number was 5.88 million. 




     Harper, David C. "Half Dollars Go Back on Mint Presses." Numismatic News [Iola] 7 Jan. 2014, 1st ed., sec. 63: 1-48. Print.

Presidents Appear Widely on Coins Updated: 11/9/2012

     Numismatic News, November 6, 2012, Vol. 51 No. 44

     Presidents Appear Widely on Coins

           Election Day is when we choose a President for the next four years.  Forty-three men have held the office of President of the United States.  One served for one moth and another was elected to four terms.  One served two non-consecutive terms.  Two were impeached an another one resigned.  Ages of the presidents range from age 42 to age 77.  Some are barely remembered.  There have been two Adams, two Johnsons, two Harrisons, and two named George Bush.

          Numismatists who appreciate American history and the role of the President can collect portraits of their favorites on coins, medals and tokens.  A collector can start with the familiar coins found in circulation.  

           Presidential portraits were first used on circulating coinage in 1909, with the Lincoln cent.  This was followed by George Washington in 1932, Thomas Jefferson in 1938, Franklin d. Roosevelt in 1946, John F. Kennedy in 1964 and Dwight Eisenhower in 1971.  the Eisenhower dollar was only struck until 1978, but the other coins are still being minted today.

         Pick your favorite President and collect. building a complete set of Lincoln sets will keep a collector busy for many years, covering over 100 years.  Maybe a Lincoln fan will want a few representative cents from the set instead of of of each date and mintmark.  One cent with the wheat ear reverse, one steel war cent of 1943, one Lincoln Memorial cent (Lincoln appears on both sides) and one each of the four special cents of 2009, along with one of the brand new Union Shield reverse cents.  The portrait has changed over the years, too.  Compare the cents of 1909 to those of 1916, 1968, and 1969 and the more recent issues.

           A Lincoln fan can spend a lifetime pursuing a collection of Lincoln portraits.  Besides the cent, Lincoln has appeared on a 1918 Illinois commemorative half dollar, the Illinois state quarter and a 2009 silver dollar.  Don't forget the Mount Rushmore coins of 1991-- the portrait is small, but it's there.

          A dedicated Lincoln collector can find a whole new collecting field in Civil War tokens.  Lincoln appeared on a great number of these tokens issued from 1862-1864.

          Abraham Lincoln has been honored on dozens of different medals.  Many attractive medals were produced in 1909 on the occasion of Lincoln's 100th birthday.  A famous Sanitary Fair medal was struck in 1865.  Large and impressive, this medal has a die break, visible to the naked eye, on Lincoln's head, which approximates the route of the assassin's bullet.

          The most popular numismatic items in the 1860s were medallic portraits of George Washington.  The Father of our Country has appeared on many colonial issues, with an entire section of the Red Book devoted to these pieces.  Some are handsome, such as the 1792 half dollar pattern, and some are unattractive, such as the "ugly head" piece of 1784.

          Washington quarters have been around since 1932, making a large collection in itself.  Washington can also be seen on many commemorative issues, classic and modern.  The first modern commemorative was the Washington half dollar of 1982.  The 1999 $5 gold, issues on the 200th anniversary of Washington's death was based on the original design considered for the quarter.

          The only classic commemorative silver dollar was the 1900 Lafayette dollar, depicting Washington and Lafayette on the obverse.  Washington also appeared on the 1926 Sesquicentennial half dollar.  And don't forget the Mount Rushmore commems.

          Thomas Jefferson, the third President, is seen on the nickel 5-cent coin in a few different portraits.  An impressive bust of Jefferson, with the inscription "architect of democracy," is on the obverse of the 1993 commemorative silver dollar.  A smaller portrait appears on the 1903 Louisiana Purchase gold dollar.

          Perhaps the most desirable Jefferson items is the Indian Peace medal.  Issued as tokens of peace between the white man and Indian tribes, these medals are large and impressive, bearing designs not seen on other coins or medals.  The famous Jefferson Peace medal depicts two clasping hands, a motif used in 2004 for the Lewis and Clark commemorative nickels.  Other Indian Peace medals show a scalping, and still others show a baseball game being played.  Most Presidents from Jefferson to Benjamin Harrison are show on the obverses of Indian Peace medals.

          Many Americans loved John F.  Kennedy.  His portrait appeared on the half dollar in early 1964, only a few months after his assassination.  Kennedy half dollars were widely hoarded as souvenirs; half dollars have disappeared from circulation since then.  Kennedy half dollars are still being minted, but only for the collector market since 2001.

          Kennedy's familiar portrait can be found on modern medals.  One, issued by the Franklin Mint in 1973, was designed by Gilroy Roberts and shows Kennedy on both sides of the medal.  A lovely memorial medial was struck by Presidential Art Medals, depicting the eternal flame at Kennedy's grave site on the reverse.  Many other memorial medals were issued.  A silver coin form Sharjah, part of the Untied Arab Emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, shows Kennedy on its obverse.

          Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only President Elected to four terms.  His portrait appeared on the dime in 1946, the year after his death.  Roosevelt dimes are still being struck, with no changes to the design in 66 years.  It's a modern set with no true rarities, but can be a fun set to put together.  FDR also appeared on a 1997 $5 gold commemorative.

          Older Americans may remember Dwight Eisenhower as General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in World War II.  A plain portrait of Ike is seen on the dollar coin of 1971-1978, the first dollar coin issued since 1935.  In 1990, a more attractive silver dollar was minted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.  the obverse shows two portraits of Eisenhower;  as a 5-star general and as President;  the reverse shows his home at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

           Besides the familiar circulating coins, other coins have featured presidential portraits.  Ulysses Grant's portrait is seen on half dollars and gold dollars of 1922, with his birthplace home on the reverse.  The same design was used on both the half dollar and the gold dollar.

          James Monroe and John Quincy Adams are shown on the 1923 Monroe Doctrine half dollar.  James Madison appears on the 1993 Bill of Rights silver dollar and $5 gold coin in two different poses.  A portrait is seen on the dollar, and a half-figure rendering on the gold coin, showing Madison studying the Bill of Rights.

          William McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901, is shown on two different gold dollars.  One was minted in 1903 to honor the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.  The other, minted in 1916 and 1917, was issued to pay for a Memorial at McKinley's birthplace in Ohio.

          Calvin Coolidge is the only President to appear on a coin while alive and in office.  The 1926 Sesquicentennial half dollar features his portrait on the obverse, next to a portrait of George Washington.  

          Andrew Jackson and martin Van Buren are seen on certain Hard Times tokens, struck in the 1830s.  Some are satirical in nature.

          The series of Presidential dollar coins, begun in 2007, honors each President in their turn at a rate of four per year.  Eventually, the past Presidents who have been dead for more than two years will appear on a United States coin.  From the popular Washington and Lincoln, to no so popular Pierce and Hayes, President fans and historians can collect a portrait gallery of every man who has held the nation's highest office.  this collection can be a starting point for a numismatist interested in Presidents, or as an addition to a set honoring a favorite President.

          First Spouse $10 gold coins are also being minted.  A dedicated collector can spot a President on the reverse of some of these coins, such as the Ulysses Grant, John Tyler and Andrew Jackson coins.

          Each President from William McKinley to Barack Obama has had an official inaugural medal.  These large bronze medals are impressive and feature the work of prominent sculptors.  Augustus Saint-Gaudens executed the famous 1905 Theodore Roosevelt medal, featuring an eagle on the reverse that resembles the proud bird used on his $10 gold coin.  Gilroy Roberts, who designed the Kennedy half dollar, also designed and engraved the inaugural medals for Jimmy Darter and Richard Nixon's second term.  Mintage figures range from 60 or so for the Warren G. Hardin 1921 medal, to over 78,500 for the 1969 Richard Nixon medal.  Some were struck at the Franklin Mint, some at the Untied States Mint.  Later issues have been struck at the Medalcraft Mint in Wisconsin.

         Ralph J. Menconi was a designer/engraver for the 1969 Nixon medal.  Menconi became famous for his work on Presidential Art Medals, a favorite in the 1970s when modern medal collecting was popular.  The Franklin Mint also enjoyed popularity in the 1970s and issued many medals featuring Presidents, including sets of silver and bronze medals, and silver mini-medals.

          A few Presidential medals are available from the Untied States Mint, including medals depicting Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln.

          Serious collectors of Presidential memorabilia can also find portraits on badges worn at inaugural parades.

          Numismatists who specialize in a favorite President can obtain reference works on medallic issues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy, although the Kennedy volume has been out of print for years and has only one edition.  Pursuing a set of medallic portraits of these three Presidents can become a lifelong challenge.

          Pick another President you admire and enjoy learning about, such as one of the Roosevelts, Grant, or Madison.  Find coins and medals depicting them, and keep your eyes open for more, when you go to a local coin shop or a convention.  I once found old aluminum tokens used in a gasoline company's "Mr. President" coin game.  Prizes in this 1968 contest ranged from a set of Presidential medals to thousands of dollars in cash.

          Historians who enjoy learning about the Presidents can assemble sets of medals and new dollar coins depicting one of each President.  Even the lesser known Presidents appeared on complete sets of medals.  Searching through dealers' junk boxes can yield some good finds.  Going to a major convention and looking up dealers of tokens and medals can result in locating Presidential items that are seldom seen except by specialists.  Maybe your favorite dealer can find special pieces for your set.

          Numismatists and historians who enjoy Presidential items can find a worthwhile challenge in collecting medallic portraits of the men who served as Chief Executive of the nation.  Pursuing these sets goes beyond filling in holes in an album, and can lead to a new appreciation of American history-- an important part of United States Numismatics.

Can Coin Use Be Eliminated Quicker? Updated: 11/8/2012

     Numismatic News, November 6, 2012 Vol. 61 No. 44  by David C. Harper


          The fate of the vending machine industry and coins have been intertwined for my entire time in the hobby.  What the vending machine industry wants, it gets.  The fate of all coins basically rests with it.

          What if the time is about to come when it doesn't want coins at all no matter what the composition, weight or diameter?  What is coins no longer loom large for their business?  What if the costs of processing them look like a fat target to be eliminated to improve their business?

          While collectors await the Mint's report to the Congress due Dec. 16 about the future of the cent and the nickel and other related coinage matters, time continues to march on.  Could Congress have been secretly hoping that progress in electronic payments would be so rapid that it would not have to deal with the emotional issue of abolitioning the cent at all?  Just point the finger at the vending machine industry and Silicon Valley and say the cent passed as the result of progress, as did the nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar and dollar.

          Making payments by cell phone has been in the headlines this year.  Vending machines that accept only cell phone payment could be on their way, or machines that accept phones as well as credit or debit cards, like a gasoline pump.

          No coins would be involved.

          If that becomes the case, the vending machine industry wouldn't care if coins were made of cardboard.

          As a practical matter, they already don't care about cents or half dollars except as coins that the use of which might jam their mechanisms.

          Few average people head to a vending machine with coins jingling in their pockets.  They have paper money.  They expect to be able to use notes in vending machines, or exchange them for coins in a machine that the vending company supplies for that purpose.

          Most users of vending machines, myself included, simply head home with the change.  I then take it to the bank to exchange for paper money after the coin container reaches a certain point of comfortable fullness.

          How would I react to payment by cell phone?  I don't know.  I expect I would look at ease of use and whether there were some sort of charge for the transaction being conducted in that manner.  Neither point seems like a high hurdle to overcome.

          I have long said that coins will be used for my lifetime, but I might have to re-evaluate that.  It depends on slower progress in electronic payments and a greater willingness by Americans to use higher denomination coins.  The latter has proven not to be the case.  Congress is not inclined to force the issue.

          The upshot is this refusal to use the dollar cons might just speed electronic payments along at a rate that will take out all coins far faster than what might have been the case otherwise.

          Europe is still inclined to use coins and has a $2.06 coin in the form of the 2 euro.  We are not Europeans.  We might not have coins much longer.

Election: a shake-up? Updated: 10/25/2012

     Numismatic News, October 30, 2012, Vol. 61 No. 43, By:  David L. Ganz

     With a presidential election in the balance on Nov. 6, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle in the forefront, but the backdrop on Congress -- House and Senate control -- remains the key question, at least for hobbyists interested in some of the key issues that have suddenly moved to center stage.

     It looks like it is going to be a squeaker nationally, but as you sit back and wait, remember that the presidential election is not about a national poll; it is about constructing a plan to get 270 electoral votes. That and that alone will determine who becomes President. (In 2000, Gore won the popular vote and lost the presidency, as did Samuel J. Tilden a century earlier).

     Importance of the presidency to collectors: the position sets the pace and temper. If Obama isn't re-elected, the position of Mint Director will get a new nominee. There will also be impact in how the U.S. deals with gold (a GOP platform calls for a re-look at the gold standard).

     A new Treasury Secretary is baked in the cake no matter who wins and if the White House changes hands a new Treasurer of the Untied States would follow. Both officeholders sign Federal Reserve Notes.

     The election key: two or three states are going to tell the story here. If Ohio and Florida go to Obama, he wins re-election. In virtually every scenario that I've done, Romney can't win without Ohio, not a surprise since every Republican to ever reach the White House stopped there and took their electoral votes on the way to victory.

     The House and Senate are in play. Right now, it's a split government; the GOP holds the House narrowly. That's where the new Mint Director will be confirmed and where new commemorative coins originate. It's also where the price of gold finds support or diminished backing.

          Current polls show Senate Dems have about 46 seats locked, the GOP 43, with 11 others too close to call.  On balance, seven of the 11 contests that are in play or too close to call are current Democratic seats; the Democratic party seems likely to pick up 5 or 6 of these, enough to have a narrow win.

         The House is a different story.  Republicans need 218 for control and already have about 225 or 226 members of Congress on their team.  Since the entire body is up for re-election, there would have to be a major switch, which is unlikely.

          Thus, after November 6, if current polls are any guide, the mood of the House Finance Committee which handles coinage matters, and Senate Banking Committee, is unlikely to change.

          That takes us to the real questions:  Is Sen. Jim DeMint's desire to revamp commemorative coinage -- and incidentally get out from under a possible scandal for those lobbying in favor of new commems-- going to find its way into the spotlight?

          Look for the election results to favor new and improved mint prodcuts, but likely no new Mint Director until 2013.  Watch for the commemorative coin scandal to become (briefly) national news and for some new (but not necessarily innovative) issues regarding coinage and paper money.

Article on PCGS coins from 2012 FUN Show in Orlando Updated: 1/20/2012

     - January 11, 2012

     (Orlando, Florida) - Rare coins authenticated and certified for grade by Professional Coin Grading Service (www.pcgs.com) broke or tied dozens of price records at the Florida United Numismatists convention auction sessions conducted by Heritage Auctions (www.HA.com).

     "PCGS-certified coins ruled the day at the recent FUN show. Record prices were realized for a 1793 Chain cent as well as an 1829 large date $5, both bringing $1.38 million in the Heritage Platinum Night auctions. Strong prices were also realized for Denis Loring's 1793 large cent collection as well as Dr. Steven Duckor's collection of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles," said Don Willis, President of PCGS, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT).

     The Chain cent (S-4) once owned by legendary Baltimore banker Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. ("the King of Coins") is graded PCGS MS65 Brown. The 1829 Half Eagle gold piece (BD-1), formerly in the famous Garrett Collection, is graded PCGS Secure Plus PR64.

     Heritage officials reported that Dr. Duckor's 52-piece Saint-Gaudens $20 collection realized $5.68 million - an average of nearly $110,000 per coin - and 33 of the coins set or tied record prices for their date and grade.

     "It was very exciting, and Heritage did a fabulous job with a memorable catalog; 170 pages devoted to 54 lots of my collection, and with extensive comments by David Akers," said Dr. Duckor. "I really like PCGS, and with only two exceptions, PCGS-graded coins are the only ones I've bought since 1989. Their Population Reports, grading accuracy, consistency and transparency of the company are all phenomenal. They're the best for grading gold. My 'mantra' has always been to buy the very best quality you can afford - even stretching to buy the best including mortgaging my home! - and don't 'flip' coins. I've now added another mantra: Buy the coin AND the holder. The (PCGS Secure) Plus grades have brought coins to a new level.

     Dr. Duckor said the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles from his collection benefited from PCGS Secure Plus grading, and he cited several examples: 1910 PCGS MS66+ sold for $54,625; 1911 PCGS MS67 $184,00, and 1928 PCGS MS67+ $54,625.

     "My Barber Half Dollar Collection, auctioned by Heritage at the ANA World's Fair of Money in Boston in 20120, was also certified PCGS Secure Plus, and did extremely well with record-breaking prices," he said.

     Twelve varieties of 1793 large cents from Loring's collection were offered and sold in the auction, all of them graded AU53 and AU58 by PCGS.

     "I'm more than happy with the results. I received a number of kind compliments on the quality of the coins. Heritage did a terrific job both cataloging and marketing the collection," said Loring. "I'm still actively collecting, as I have non-stop since 1955. I'm very fortunate to have found a hobby that has given me great pleasure, and through which I've met so many fascinating people."

     Underlying the continuing strength of the market for high-quality, rare U.S. coins, Heritage reported more than 7,000 bidders participated in the auction, vying for 9,420 U.S. coins in an auction that resulted in nearly $56 million in winning bids. All prices quoted include the 19.5 percent buyer's premium.

     "PCGS coins are universally respected and always command top dollar. That's why the most valuable certified copper, silver and gold coins were all in PCGS holders when they were sold," said Willis.

     With more than 23 million coins graded commanding a total current market value of over $26 billion, PCGS represents the industry standard in third-party certification.


     Article courtesy of PCGS

     Source: http://www.pcgs.com/articles/detail/7086

Early Silver Dollars A Great, Simple Type Set Posted: 12/29/2010
**Article courtesy of CDN 12/10/2010**

Prior to 1878, the year that brought forth the ubiquitous and, at the time, controversial Morgan Dollar, the US Mint endeavored to circulate Silver Dollars on a number of occasions. Today's collectors are fortunate in that they can assemble a Type Set of Early Silver Dollars, prior to the Morgan, which embodies much of American numismatic history, contemporary art, foreign policy, high finance, and ordinary day-to-day life. Such a set provides a great escape from the more commonly collected Morgans, giving beginning collectors a sense of added variety, enthusiasm and appreciation for the hobby. A complete set of Circulated Early Dollars, a total of six coins, can be assembled for as little as 54,000 or less in Good condition.

Flowing Hair Dollar 1794-1795

The Mint managed a sparse production total of 1,758 Flowing Hair Silver Dollars dated 1794. Researchers estimate that perhaps 150 exist today. Limited availability and supreme desirability make the transaction of a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar an exciting event in the numismatic community. When building a Type Set of Early Dollars, the 1795 is the de facto choice for the Flowing Hair design. Much larger production runs result in correspondingly many more survivors. Population data at PCGS show that 1,994 coins have been certified, while the NGC Census accounts for 996. There are multiple varieties of the 1795 Flowing Hair Dollar, most notably the 2 Leaves and the 3 Leaves - these descriptors refer to the laurel branch and the number of leaves adjoined to it on the reverse. Researchers have identified dozens of additional varieties, a phenomenon true of all early Federal coinage from 1792 through 1834. Opting for the more probable sale, minor varieties are regularly offered for Type prices.
Coins grading Very Fine represent the most often found state of preservation, which nicely satisfies two very important considerations concerning any Type coin. From the coin-collecting side, the prime concern is the amount of design detail still found on the coin. An opposing concern is the financial consideration. Are there enough survivors to satisfy demand while price levels remain reasonable? PCGS has graded 781, while NGC has graded 340 in grades VF20-VF35. Bid prices for Flowing Hair Dollars have advanced steadily over time. These are up some 300% since December of 1997, when wholesale Bid was $1,500 in VF.. Both varieties of the 1795 are regularly available and offered at similar levels, though the 2 Leaves variety is perhaps a touch scarcer than its counterpart.
Lord St. Oswald set aside an example of the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, the flagship product of a fledgling Mint, for posterity. This coin resides in a PCGS holder, graded as Specimen 66. The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation, reportedly paid $7.85 million in May of 2010, thus making it the largest amount ever paid for a single US coin.

Draped Bust Dollars, Small Eagle Reverse 1795-1798

By the end of 1795, major changes were made to all existing coin designs currently in use. The Flowing Hair design was abandoned after two years, cast aside in favor of Robert Scot's new Draped Bust design. Scot's conception of Liberty, a much more curvaceous Liberty for sure, was mated with the eagle reverse, the same eagle design paired with the obverse on the Flowing Hair previously. In fact, the very same working dies were used, and are identifiable within the 43,000 that were minted in 1795. These Draped Bust Dollars with Small Eagle Reverse continued to be produced through 1798. Type Bid is $4,260 in VF20 grade. The population of this coin is quite small at 1,674 out of 458,000 minted.

Draped Bust Dollars, Heraldic Eagle Reverse 1798-1803

Staunch defenders of the public image were concerned that the eagle, hitherto depicted on the Silver coins of the realm, might be perceived as weak compared to those of the European powers. This proved an easy sell. A major overhaul of the eagle followed, and from 1798 to 1803, production ensued for a new Type, the Draped Bust Dollar with Heraldic Eagle Reverse. Bid for a VF20 example is $2,025, speaking to the much larger surviving population of nearly 5,000 graded examples.
Silver Dollar production was suspended indefinitely following the output of the 1803. This situation gave rise to the mystery that was to surround a coin dated 1804, a coin that was without question struck with dies quite similar, if not the very same ones used in previous years. Mint records made no mention nor provision for Dollar coins struck and dated 1804. The mystery surrounding the 1804 Draped Bust Dollar wasn't completely solved until the 1960s. Researchers determined that these 1804 Dollars were struck much later, perhaps 1834-1835, in conjunction with an order to prepare the existing coinage as Presentation Sets for foreign dignitaries. B. Max Mehl championed the hobby in the middle part of the 20th century with relentless advertising campaigns, single handedly bringing great fame to the 1804 Dollar, for which he would buy any and all for $500 a piece. As for those Presentation Sets mentioned, the one prepared for the Sultan of Muscat contained a specimen of 1804 Silver Dollar that sold for $4.14 million in 1999, at that time, the world record for a single numismatic item. The King of Siam Set most recently sold for $8.5 million in November of 2005.

Liberty Seated "No Motto" Dollars (1840-1866)

To own a Liberty Seated Dollar in any grade is truly a privilege considering that so few have been made available. The Dollars of 1840-1873 were issued in two varieties. The first variety issued 1840-1866, known as the "No Motto" type, was what can be considered the first business strike Dollar denominated coin issued for general circulation since 1803. These Dollars were minted in various quantities each year during their issue period by the Philadelphia Mint, with the New Orleans Mint sporadically contributing production in the years 1846, 1850, 1859, and 1860. The San Francisco Mint involved itself in the coin's production only one year - in 1859 - adding only 20,000 pieces to the total produced. PCGS has graded a total of 7,344 No Motto Seated Liberty Dollars ranging in grades AG3 to MS67, most of which graded XF45 at a count of 967 and a quantity of 796 at AU50. Proofs of this type range in grades PR20 to PR67 with a total submission of 1,622, the bulk of which graded PR62 and PR63. Before any further reference to the No Motto variety Dollar is made here, it is important to note that in the aftermath of the American Civil War, the modification of incorporating the motto "In God We Trust" on virtually all US coinage issued in 1866 was applied to the Liberty Seated Dollar as well. However, two known Proof specimens dated 1866 struck without the motto exist (one was owned by the du Pont family estate) and are, of course, considered to be ultra-rarities.

Liberty Seated "With Motto" Dollars (1866-1873)

Most of the Dollars of 1866-1873 were issued in greater quantities than their prior issued, No Motto counterparts. But as so many more of these Dollars entered circulation during a more economically prosperous time, albeit their much shorter period of issuance, few of this type remain available in the higher, more desirable grades for collectors to acquire. The Liberty Seated Dollar with Motto also was minted uninterruptedly during its issue period in Philadelphia. This "slack" was somewhat filled by the Mint at Carson City, Nevada, producing a meager 1,376 pieces in 1871 and 2,300 pieces during 1873, the final year of issue. The Mint at San Francisco reportedly produced these Dollars during 1870, 1872, and 1873 also. While 9,000 pieces are known to have been struck there in 1872, apparently no records were maintained verifying the quantity of Dollars struck during the other two years of production. PCGS encapsulated 3,064 pieces ranging in grades AG3 to MS67 with 376 specimens falling into the XF45 grade category and 331 at AU50.

Trade Dollars (1873-1885)

There probably is no other artifact that can better serve as a reminder of the time when our nation first decided to engage in expansive foreign commerce with the East than a US Trade Dollar. The great powers of the latter part of the 19th Century coined precious metal currency to lure the interests of the far off merchants' exotic wares for which many Westerners suddenly yearned, The Trade Dollar provided hope for US trade competitiveness within the Orient. So, in 1873, the US government ordered the Mints in Philadelphia, Carson City, and San Francisco to produce a special Silver Dollar struck with a metal content fineness and purity inscription. But, when these coins first appeared at their points of business, their not so trusting recipients didn't always necessarily take the coins at "face value" and, just to be sure of the metal content, would strike the pieces with sharp implements to assure themselves of not being intrinsically short-changed. The so-called "chop mark" is a term numismatically associated almost exclusively with the Trade Dollar and such a feature, despite its intentionally destructive and disfiguring attributes, is actually considered as bestowing charm and historical lore upon such coins by many who collect them. Even the best known certification services allow for these lacerations to appear on these coins without disqualifying them for grade assignments, a consideration only granted to Trade Dollars.
PCGS has so far documented a total of 8,149 Trade Dollars ranging in grades from AG3 to MS68, most of which are graded MS62 and MS63 in almost equal quantities, 1,133 and 1,123, respectively. Of this series, the 1875S with an original mintage of 4,487,000 tallied the most submissions with a total count of just 1,192 pieces. NGC graded business-strike Trade Dollars currently total 5,389 submissions that range in grades AG3 to MS67, with the MS62 grade claiming the highest count at 929 specimens. Fortunately for today's collectors, most Trade Dollars were issued in relatively large quantities as business-strikes, but during the later years of this coin's issue, beginning in 1879, only Proof struck examples were produced in very limited quantities. These pieces are, of course, rare, highly-prized and costly.
Fortuitous circumstances often conspire to create something which in retrospect appears to have been perfectly planned. Some might agree that this is the case with the present popularity of the United States Silver Dollar as a collectible. Had it not been for the $200 million stockpile of Morgan Dollars - say they simply hit the melting pot - this series would have nowhere near the following it has today. It is not a stretch to suggest that the one-point grading scale, MS60 to MS70, would never have developed or at the least been delayed a long, long time without the Morgan Silver Dollar as the guiding light. A natural consequence of sustained interest in a particular series is also the most likely motivation for collectors to move outside the series, but staying with something historically related in one way or the other. Only then did interest in the first Silver Dollars, that is those prior to the Morgan Silver Dollar, gain a following of collectors outside the small community of researchers and numismatic scholars. The saying, "The rest is history" is much more than a trite truism. The most valuable coin in the world is a US Silver Dollar (1794 FH Dollar, The most famous coin in the world is a US Silver Dollar (any and all 1804 Silver Dollars). Arguably, the two most popularly collected coins in the world are US Silver Dollars (Morgan Silver Dollars and Silver American Eagles)
PNG Issues Statement on Coin Doctoring and PCGS Lawsuit Posted: 6/7/2010
Coin Update News:
PNG Issues Statement on Coin Doctoring and PCGS Lawsuit
By Coin Update Staff on June 3rd, 2010
Categories: Press Releases

The Board of Directors of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) issued the following statement following a meeting on June 2, 2010 in Long Beach, California.

The Professional Numismatists Guild Board of Directors applauds the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in its efforts to battle the deceptive practice known as coin "doctoring." The deliberate, deceitful alteration of a coin can pose an egregious financial consequence to individual collectors, investors, dealers as well as the general public. PNG believes the unconscionable practice of "doctoring" is an enormous detriment to the numismatic marketplace.

We congratulate and support both Numismatic Guaranty Corporation and Professional Coin Grading Service for their diligent work to detect 'doctored" coins, and encourage both organizations to continue to aggressively combat this assault on the hobby.

"Doctoring" of coins is a definite violation of the PNG Code of Ethics, Section 7, that prohibits members from "knowingly dealing in counterfeit, altered or repaired numismatic items without fully disclosing their status to my customers." "Doctoring" is also a violation of Section 4 of the PNG Code of Ethics that prohibits "misrepresenting the quality of a coin."

The PNG Board regrets that three of its member-dealers have been named among the defendants in a Federal Court Complaint filed May 28, 2010 by Collectors Universe, Inc., the parent company of PCGS. The PNG takes allegations such as the ones made by PCGS very seriously. The board will monitor the progress of the complaint and react promptly, appropriately and in accordance with the organization's bylaws.

Furthermore, in response to the recent influx of fraud related hobby concerns, the PNG board has pledged to revisit, review and update each and every ethical standard adopted by the PNG over the past 55 years. In particular, the board acknowledges the need to clearly define the term "doctoring," in order to establish an enforceable criterion for its membership. The PNG board is unified in its resolve to nurture and maintain the PNG member-dealers' standards of excellence through a more proactive posture regarding egregious acts of fraud in the numismatic marketplace.

Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild is a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers. For additional information, visit online at www.PNGdealers.com or call (760) 728-1300.

How Does CAC Fit Into Today's Coin Market? Updated: 5/10/2012

     Many dealers thought PCGS and NGC solved the grading problem nearly 25 years ago. Others still want nothing to do with either and deal exclusively in raw coins. Still others have dealt in certified coins for many years, but have become concerned about "gradeflation." Then, in 2007, CAC was formed. CAC, which stands for Certified Acceptance Corporation, was founded by John Albanese, a seasoned coin dealer who was also involved in the start-ups of both Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation in 1986 - unique qualifications, for sure. CAC is a private business that is owned by 20 to 25 numismatic shareholders. Its mission is to screen coins graded by PCGS and NGC to identify those that are, at a minimum, solid for the grade, in CAC's opinion. Albanese is no longer affiliated with either PCGS or NGC. He was a founding partner in the California Gold Marketing Group which purchased the SS Central America treasure for a price that exceeded $100 million. He was also chief marketing strategist for the coins recovered from the SS Republic shipwreck. Among other endeavors of note, he founded Numismatic Consumer Alliance in 2005 to assist consumers in getting refunds from unscrupulous coin dealers. The Founding Coin dealers of CAC are attempting to manage "gradeflation," which exists as the result of grading standards of PCGS and NGC having loosened over the years, in their opinion. They believe that gradeflation has been dragging down the market prices of solid to high-end coins for the grade. This is consistent with what Albanese explained to me in an hour long conversation at the Baltimore ANA convention in 2003, long before CAC was actually formed. It had been in the works for several years. How CAC is attempting to accomplish its mission is illustrated by a simple process the company uses. They say there are at least three quality levels of coins graded by PCGS and NGC: 1) Those that are high end, commonly known as a premium quality for the grade, called "A" quality coins; 2) those that are average, or solid, for the grade, called "B" quality coins; and 3) those that are below average, called "C" quality coins. CAC stickers just the "A" and "B" quality coins, even though it considers all three levels to be properly graded. Those coins that meet CAC's standards are then given a green, tamper-evident, oval-shaped sticker with a CAC hologram placed on the front of each coin's PCGS or NGC holder. CAC refers to this sticker as a "green bean," and a few others refer to it as a "green football". Importantly, CAC is also making a market in coins they have verified by purchasing them sight-unseen. To date, CAC has bought and sold, on a wholesale basis, nearly $150,000,000 in CAC-stickered coins. CAC is also developing a coin dealer trading exchange called Coin-Plex, which is expected to be launched this summer. With this background in mind, there is no up-front agenda for this article. I was asked to write this in a fair and unbiased manner. It's just a read on the pulse of how today's coin market perceives and accepts CAC. Some like it. Others think CAC is "unnecessary." Some even feel threatened by CAC and go as far as saying it's "disingenuous." In order to get broad-based comments, I spoke with dealers, collectors, investors, and auction houses to get their feedback. I also called Mark Salzberg, chairman of NGC, and David Hall, president of Collectors Universe, PCGS's parent company. Additionally, I have never been a shareholder in any of these grading services, but my business is a submission center for all three grading services, PCGS, NGC, and CAC, just like hundreds of other dealers' businesses are. I also graded coins for PCGS in its early days, just like many other dealers did. The intent of this article is to be fair to all parties concerned. This was written prior to the announcement of "The Big One" by PCGS on March 25, 2010, and updated after the announcement. CAC is only about three years old, while PCGS and NGC have both been operating for nearly 25 years. PCGS and NGC have each graded about 18 to 19 million coins, worth about 18 to 19 billion dollars, while CAC has evaluated about 144,000 coins so far, with a declared insurance value of about $800 million. Of this total, CAC has stickered more than 68,000 PCGS and NGC graded coins. These are vintage coins, not modern or world coins which are included in the PCGS and NGC totals. CAC does not evaluate modern or world coins. Its market share is tiny compared to PCGS and NGC, as pointed out by both Q. David Bowers, a minority shareholder in CAC, and David Hall, founder of PCGS. Hall estimated that CAC has evaluated only about 3 percent of the coins his firm has graded during the past three years, the total time CAC has been in operation. Hall said, "John Albanese is a very good coin grader, and he does a good job with CAC. They are a small boutique, and as their published numbers indicate, they are only looking at a very small percentage of the coins that have been graded by PCGS and NGC. I think people should buy CAC coins if they like the concept, but for me, I don't need the service, and I don't pay extra for CAC coins." And that's where the real impact of CAC is felt - in pricing. Presently, large premiums are often paid for CAC verified coins. By submitting coins to CAC, owners can often raise the market values of those coins by getting them stickered. The flip side is that dealers, collectors and investors who own coins slabbed by PCGS and NGC that are not CAC-stickered see the market values of those coins suffering. Some buyers may be skeptical of non-CAC coins because they may not make the grade, just as they may be skeptical of many raw coins which might not be "slab-worthy." That's why CAC doesn't release PCGS and NGC serial numbers of coins that have been submitted to them but did not sticker. CAC wants to help protect owner's interests. Dealer John Feigenbaum believes CAC has developed good brand awareness. Similarly, collectors spoken to for this article were generally aware of CAC. But many people, including quite a few dealers, don't seem to understand the background of why CAC was formed. I've heard several people say CAC is "political." It's really a private, competitive business. Feigenbaum, who retails coins to collectors, said, "CAC has been a net positive for the coin collecting community. CAC helps me (and my customers) feel more comfortable about the coins they are buying. I see an increasing number of collectors who are buying or bidding for CAC verified coins every month through our website. Simply stated, I prefer to buy coins with CAC stickers." And that expresses what collectors have said as well. Most, who know of CAC, agree that owning PCGS and NGC graded coins with CAC stickers helps them feel more reassured they won't have problems reselling their coins back into the market in the future. Most collectors also believe their coins are worth more money with CAC stickers than without. However, that leaves collectors just as nervous as dealers regarding the values of their other coins, especially if those coins fail to get stickered. That may be more reason to get their coins examined sooner rather than later to decide whether to keep them or sell them, based on CAC verification or lack thereof. Dealers can generate more business for themselves by assisting customers with submitting and upgrading or trading coins that don't get verified. CAC reports that more than 40 percent of the PCGS and NGC graded coins submitted are given CAC stickers. However, that percentage has been shrinking a little recently, according to John Albanese. But there are many submitters who fare significantly better, such as Kevin Stratten, a collector I recently helped with a CAC submission. He said, "I guess at this point the long-term will tell on the benefit of CAC, although already it looks like they've had a significant impact on the market; otherwise, I wouldn't have gone through with our venture. I was pleasantly surprised that I got a higher ratio than I was expecting stickered, and I was very pleased with their turnaround." But, regardless of the ratio of coins a submitter gets stickered by CAC, dealer Gary Adkins said, "We are a service business. Collectors and investors should develop relationships with dealers who provide great service and quality! A little green placebo is not the ultimate guarantee. You want dealers who know quality and will be there whether you are buying or selling!" On the other hand, many collectors want the assurance of buying only CAC verified coins these days. They realize that owning CAC stickered coins is insurance if the CAC concept becomes a generally accepted requirement in the market, just as it predominantly has for PCGS and NGC graded coins. Some dealers are anticipating this and deal only in CAC coins. Similarly, Teletrade is featuring specialty auctions that offer CAC coins exclusively. Mark Salzberg, Chairman of NGC, has a different take on CAC. He said, "CAC is a trading network that makes markets in coins that it stickers. A grading service, by contrast, renders a determination of grade and authenticity, and leaves the market to determine the value of the coins that it certifies. NGC, of course, takes this further by offering a money-back guarantee of grade and authenticity. We do not trade in coins or own a marketplace. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest, grading and market-making are separate functions." In the March 25, 2010 unveiling of its new "Secure Plus" service, PCGS said on its website, "It is a fact of life that high-end coins exist within each grade. Collectors and dealers alike will seek these coins out and pay more for them. The PCGS Secure Plus system is designed to help single out the more desirable high-end coins within a grade. Coins meriting the "+" designation could command a significant premium." Prior to that announcement, CAC distributed the following statements as part of a larger press release: "Change may be in the air at one or more coin grading services, but dealers, collectors and investors will find business as usual at Certified Acceptance Corporation. CAC will continue to evaluate submissions, and determine whether to award stickers to those coins, strictly in the context of the basic numerical grades assigned by either PCGS or NGC." Further, John Albanese stated that CAC will disregard any additional descriptive words or symbols. "We don't want buyers and sellers to get the impression that by stickering a coin, CAC is confirming someone else's 'PQ' designation. CAC makes a market in coins that it has stickered, and its disregard of PQ-type designations will be reflected in its buying and selling prices." The press release goes on describing its bid price for an MS65 1892O Barber Quarter at $1,150, "And if it came with an asterisk or a rainbow or a halo, we'd still pay $1,150 - as long as it had a sticker." The general experience of dealers in today's market is that prices for CAC verified coins are trading at roughly 20 percent more than PCGS and NGC coins in the same grades that have not been verified by CAC. This has been the experience of dealer Laura Sperber, a minority owner of CAC. She said that, in her experience, the general price differences between CAC coins and non-CAC coins has grown during the past couple of years to the 20 percent level from about 15 percent. She also told me that her company, Legend Numismatics, which deals exclusively in CAC verified coins, sold fully 60 percent of its purchases from the most recent Baltimore coin show within 24 hours after posting those new purchases online. In other words, demand is very strong for CAC verified coins, and buyers are willing to pay extra for them. The start-up years of CAC have been similar to what PCGS and NGC experienced during their establishment. Some people liked the idea, others didn't. Those who did often paid premiums to be able to buy PCGS or NGC coins early on. There was also a learning curve in grading as PCGS and NGC evolved. I know. I was one of the dealer/graders during the first few years, who sat shoulder to shoulder with the other graders at a table in David Hall's offices. In the beginning, PCGS introduced the grading scale of commercially using all the numbers between 60 and 70 for Mint State and Proof coins. It was a big adjustment for the grades to begin using those numbers. Previous to that, the market predominantly used MS60 and MS65, and later, MS63. Grades MS61 and MS62 were unheard of! As prices continued to rise, some of us began using "MS63+" or "MS65/70" to indicate a really "gemmy" coin. This evolution of numerical grading can be witnessed by looking through back issues of the Greysheet during the 1970s and '80s. It also took people in the market time to adjust to using MS61 and 62, and MS66 through 70. And it was an adjustment for PCGS to begin grading coins with those numbers. For example, MS66 had not been regularly used in day-to-day trading. The market was hung up on using MS65 to designate a "Choice" or "Gem" coin, depending on who used either term. In the beginning, it was a real push for graders to break through the MS65 barrier. So during the formative years of PCGS and NGC, the technique of coin grading evolved, and the market's perception of those grading services changed, sometimes full circle, as time went on. Similarly, people are still making their minds up of what they think of CAC. The fact is, CAC's acceptance is growing, and it is most likely a financially strong company, given the reputations of the principal stakeholders. CAC is likely to be with us for a long time. Countless dealers and their customers have accepted CAC for what it is and are finding ways to use it for profit. Mark Ferguson Reliance Numismatic Services, LLC

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